Selous Game Reserve

The largest concentrations of elephants, crocodiles, hippos, and wild dogs in the world are claimed by this wild, remote reserve, at 21,000 square miles (50,000 km2) twice the size of Denmark. Over one million large animals live here. Poaching had reduced their numbers, but recent years have seen a comeback. Elephants, at one time down to 30,000, are now over 55,000 and expected to return to the 1976 level of 110,000.

Among a great species variety are Sharpe’s grysbok and Lichtenstein’s hartebeest as well as Burchell’s zebras, striking Roosevelt’s sable antelopes, waterbucks, warthogs, rich birdlife (350 species), and plants (2,000 species so far). Predators include lions, leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs. Bateleur eagles soar. Selous is an eight-hour drive from any significant settlement butthere are airstrips and several tented camps. The rushing Rufiji River bisects the reserve. South of it, sport hunting is permitted. Threats are mainly two proposed dams which would flood large areas.

Cooler, less humid June–October is pleasantest. Many birds visit the Rufiji River including open-billed storks, gorgeous carmine bee-eaters, Goliath herons, fish eagles, along with reedbucks and spiral-horned greater kudus, and visitors sailing or rafting down the river do not seem to disturb them unduly.

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